Natalie Spooner’s hockey story – from backyard rink to Olympic gold – is truly Canadian.
Her parents Peter and Ann-Marie immigrated from England and began looking for a typically-Canadian sport for their three sons to play as they readied for their first, very long winter in Ontario.
Hockey was the perfect fit.
And by the time Natalie came along there were plenty of hand-me-down sticks and skates and older brothers ready to test her skills, toughness and determination on their makeshift rink.
Following an NCAA career at Ohio State University, Natalie was drafted into the burgeoning CWHL in 2012 by her hometown team, the Toronto Furies, and refocused on her big goals – winning the CWHL's Clarkson Cup and capturing gold for Canada in Sochi 2014.
Her first breakthrough came in the semi-final against Switzerland when she scored twice, including the eventual game winner, in a 3-1 victory that sent Canada to the now-glorious-part-of-hockey-history final against the USA.
Returning home with an Olympic gold medal, Natalie laced up for the Toronto Furies and scored the only goal in the shootout to become the first woman to win both the CWHL's Clarkson Cup and the Olympics in the same year.
What could possibly be next?
The Amazing Race Canada came calling and Natalie joined teammate and two-time Olympic Champion Meaghan Mikkelson in a round-the-world adventure on the most-watched show of the summer in Canada.
At the 2015 IIHF World Championship, Natalie re-affirmed her status as Canada's most talented offensive player scoring a TSN-Highlight-of-the-Night goal in against Finland, leading the team in goals and points and taking home the IIHF Best Forward honours.
As the leading vote-getter and face of the 2016 CWHL All-Star Game, Natalie was welcomed to Molson Canadian's rooftop rink in downtown Toronto to promote women's hockey and show off a couple dangles that would make even Wayne Gretzky proud.